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Recently reported on the Spoke ‘N’ Word blog, Tampa will soon have a bicycle cooperative! This is very exciting news for the Tampa cycling community in that a bicycle co-op is a good sign of a healthy and growing bicycle culture. Atlanta has Sopo, Los Angeles has Bike Oven, Portland has Citybikes, Minneapolis has The Hub…and now Tampa is going to join these other cities and give a little back to folks who really need some bikes to get around…

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I had a chance to speak briefly with one of the founders of the co-op, Dave Japenga. I asked him what kinds of parts and supplies he needed and what we could do for him as far as promotion. He said,

“I think it is going to be a good experience. I just kind of threw the idea out there and let the momentum carry it. Fortunately there seems to be enough like-minded people that this project will be a success.

Parts we could use are really wide open. I have about 30 bikes (mtn, road, and cruisers) that all need a bit of love. Once the co-op gets more established they will be rebuilt and for sale via a no minimum required donation price. In an effort to both get more bicycles on the road, and to have bikes that are accessible to anyone underprivileged.

Any coverage would be much appreciated. One thing that needs to happen is for this to be promoted in all niches of the cycling community. I’ve been living with no car for the last 6 months. I love bikes, all aspects, but as a commuter I’m always in need of an adjustment or quick fix and spend a lot of time behind a wrench. I think education on how to fix the basics is both empowering and a defining part of getting more bikes on the road.”

The co-op is having a grand opening celebration on April 7th from 6-9 PM at the Transitions Art Gallery at the Skatepark of Tampa (the co-op’s current location). If you are in the Tampa Bay area, please come out and show your support at this gala event. If you are coming and you’ve got bicycle parts or bicycles to donate, the organizers would love to have whatever you’ve got.

I’ll be covering the grand opening party for Bikecommuters.com — and I’ve got a box of parts and spare tubes I’m going to haul along to donate. I’m so excited about this!